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Childhood friends Nicoló Rovarini and Federico Rocca grew up on the shores of Lake Maggiore in Italy. Their resulting love of seafood is now being translated for a South African audience in De Waterkant.
If you’re expecting Italian classics, think again.
We kick off with a carpaccio (the fish changes daily), sliced and served with coconut flakes, olive oil and kiwi fruit. It’s an unusual pairing, and the flavours don’t quite meld. Saldanha Bay mussels – marinated in olive oil until wonderfully tender – served on a crispy fried piece of polenta, are a safer bet.
Pasta is made in-house, and the bronze drawn spaghetti, served with cherry tomatoes and clams is perfectly al dente. Squid ink gnocchi with prawns comes laced with vibrant threads of saffron, which lend a unique flavour to the dish.
If you’ve space for secondi, there’s the option of a vast platter, a smaller platter of fried hake, calamari and bait fish, or the Abalobi catch of the day.
For dessert, there’s a wonderfully chewy, almost creamy lemon sorbet, and a very good tiramisu.
At the time of writing, four months after opening, the restaurant was still waiting for a liquor license. For now, take your own wine, or make do with a rock shandy.
The restaurant takes its name from the legendary boat building company, Riva, who make the kind of wood-clad speedboat that James Bond would pilot. The white walls are cleverly decorated with broad blue stripes, a clutch of black-and-white photos and a little boat-themed brick-a-brack. Above, the light bulbs dangle from thick rope. All-in-all, the feeling is of a relaxed seafood trattoria, with lights just dim enough for it to feel romantic rather than cheap-and-cheerful.
Friendly and swift.
A fun evening with fish-loving friends.
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